photographs by Missy McLamb
At Needham B. Broughton High School, there’s homecoming and there’s prom, but the event of the year is the Queen of Hearts. The annual affair combines the elegance of prom with homecoming’s school spirit, then adds an element of community spirit.
It began as a fundraiser to support the school newspaper in 1941. Journalism classes sponsored an election for the “Queen of Hearts” from a ballot of senior girls who passed all of their classes. Each vote cost one cent. A decade later, the price increased to a dime per vote, and the funds went toward World War II troops overseas. By then, the Queen of Hearts was announced at a formal school dance. In 1950, Queen of Hearts became the Broughton senior class project, which it is today.
Festivities surrounding the Queen of Hearts election have varied over the years. According to the Class of 1955’s official website, the 1967 senior class had The Embers play at their Saturday night dance. Clay Aiken served as a mascot on the Queen’s court as a child.
Today, the court of four freshmen, six sophomores, eight juniors, and 12 seniors – chosen by their peers to represent the school – spend more than a month shopping for their floor-length dresses, and seniors spend four weekends decorating. This year’s queen was Abigail Bugger. Proceeds from this year’s Alice in Wonderland-themed fête supported Stop Hunger Now.